The beginning of the End: Day 3: In Lahore

The proceedings of the second and the last day of the conference were to start from 9 am, and Saba had her paper reading due that day, which meant that we had to get up early morning for it, which meant that I had to take a shower early morning (Honestly, I would never have bothered with the idea of taking a shower, but I was sure that Saba was good enough in her maths to calculate that since I had not taken a shower since Thursday – the day of my arrival – it means that it has been 2 days.. which equals to me being a dirty person) (I guess the word mean has a whole new meaning for me today .. I know lame joke). Anyways after the shower, we got dressed, and for breakfast I had my last day’s leftover lunch sandwich from CTC (told you it was really big) and reached the venue at around 8: 15 am… no one had reached by then! (I would have collapsed somewhere from sleep if only I was able to find a place) but Mr. Vandal and I got some time to talk, and he asked me about my future plans, and we discussed the proceedings of the day before. He is a very punctual man, because at 9 am with still more than half the venue empty he started the proceedings.. he would have continued with it too.. if only Dr.Mubarak Ali, who was supposed to chair the second session would have been on time (he had genuine reasons to be delayed because he is a very punctual man). And as soon as he came the show was on the road.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Gulzar Haider on the topic “The Historiographers and Pedagogues, with Respect” but he wasn’t able to attend the conference because of some personal issues (I really wanted to meet him though), but his paper was presented to the conference by Dr. Khalid Bajwa.. he started off on a light funny note, joking about his reading speed and all, but it was nice. After him he has Ms. Aisha Imdad, who read her paper about “The Evolution of the Tree of Life as an Islāmic Decorative Element in Fresco Painting in Mughal or Mughal Inspired Architecture of Pakistan. ” I had come to known her in the past one day.. and have to admit that she is a gem of a person. She is very excited about her work and what she is doing in respect of bringing to the forefront many of the crafts from the rural area. – an undertaking by another wing of THAAP, under the title of THAAP Crafts. She was wearing a beautiful shawl made by one such person, and when she talks about it, she has this glow in her eyes. Their exhibition is to take place in Islamabad in this month… so try to check it out! Dr. Sylvia Shorto was not able to come to the conference, but her paper, titled “The Sahlimar Bagh and the Mubarak Bagh: Histories from the garden houses in north-west Delhi” was read out by Muhammad Taimur. And after that came Ar. Saba Samee – I love you Saba! I loved her paper, titled “Lahore – The city of travelers” – and I mean that as a completely objective third-party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter! (:D) It was a nice way to look at history.. checking and tracing it from the traveler’s account. I loved it (Yes I know I  have already said that)!

After the break, it was Dr. Priyaleen Singh’s paper on “Changing Imagery of the Mughals Garden of Taj Mahal”. In her paper she recalled the attempts that are being made India to conserve the Taj Gardens into their glory periods during the Mughal period and how they have evolved to their current condition of being a mere “lawn” – a factor of colonization! Dr. Banu Pekol also couldn’t make it and his paper was also read out regarding the “Architectural impressions between Turkey and Pakistan:  A tightrope between objects and the historian”. Dr. Anis Siddiqui of Punjab University who was the last speaker of the session spoke about “Narratives and Storytelling: Teaching Tools for Architectural History, Theory and Design” and talked about how story telling can be a great tool to awake certain emotions in a student. I agree with him to a point, but I think it is very important to keep in mind that we all perceive things differently and it is not necessary that a story would ignite the same feeling in everyone! Continue reading


And the Conference begins; Day 2: In Lahore

Yes I know, I am very lazy. And that is why it took me two days to write this part. But well here I am . So people stop complaining!

After having a very good sleep – despite my parents astonishment that how I can get so comfortable at some one else’s house so soon – I woke up at 9 am and joined by host to watch the rerun of the American Music Award (hate you Justin Bieber.. the rest of these 40 years old musicians should just go kill themselves, I mean it doesn’t get worst than this right), and to a hot cup of tea. I really wanted to go shop, so Saba at 11 took me out to Liberty and I bought some of the most beautiful Khosa’s from Khosa Mahal. I am an upcoming shoeaholic! After that, we debated for what seemed like forever about where should we go get out lunch. We went to Gloria Jeans’ but after rejecting it, so reasons that I still don’t understand, we settled on Coffee, Tea, Company or CTC, as the Lahoris call it. I have to admit the sandwich was huge and really  good. Recommended for everyone!

We came home, and then after stuffing ourselves with that piece of heaven sandwich – we couldn’t eat more than half of it – we got ready for the conference. The butterflies that I have already mentioned started to take their toll on me again, and I tried to push them to the back of my mind….it was quite a fight alright!

The conference started on time, and with a wonderful introduction from Dr. Pervaiz Vandal, explaining the birth and the purpose of this conference. I especially liked the part where he defined himself and his wife as being proud to be teacher, then being an architect. He explained the conference as to be “for the teachers, by the teachers, from the teachers” .. I felt pretty left out!


The Venue for the Conference

I feel in love with these dogs.. at first I thought I was having dejavu.. it was after a whole fifteen minutes that I realized that the Vandal's had two dogs

While introducing Dr. Mubarak Ali – the keynote speaker – he told this story about how in each and every village of Pakistan, you can go to a shop and right next to the tea, cleaners, soap, etc, you would also find a section on his book. I thought that was such a wonderful thing to say! Dr. Mubarak Ali in his keynote speech discussed the evolution of the study of history. Some of what I remembered emphasized on the different ways that history is looked upon. One of them is that when you consider the past as the Golden age, in this context the future becomes dark. The other way is that we think of history in a constant progress, then this way the past becomes an era of darkness, and the future more promising than ever! He also discussed how when the true history was written about many of the Muslim rulers it was condemned by Muslims themselves for being anti-Muslim, because they had become used to the royal court’s version of the history. This session was chaired by Prof. Nimal P. De Silva, a wonderfully sweet man from SriLanka. Continue reading

And the show begins : Day 1: Going to Lahore

The butterflies were completely out to get me and there was no doubt in my mind that they would get the best of me. My flight for Lahore for the first ever Trust for History of Art and Architecture, Pakistan (THAAP) was at 8 am, and according to my mother I needed to be at the airport by 6 … you can’t argue with her! This meant that I only got to sleep for 4 hours. Tired and sleepy and with the battle of the butterflies going on in my stomach, I boarded the plane at 8: 15 am – the flight was a full half an hour late, giving me a full two hours to miss my bed like crazy.

The Schedule for the THAAP Conference

I was suppose to be reading a paper at the THAAP Conference and I was as nervous as one can be, and I had every reason to be. I was selected among some very big names in the field, including Dr. Gulzar Haider, Dean of Beaconhouse University, Anila Naseem, Professor at the N.E.D University, etc and the rest that I didn’t know either held a Ph.d Doctorate or a Professorship or both…. I was sure I was being called just to show how dumb the current Generation of students are! Continue reading